The Fastest Way To Clear A Stuffed Nose
When you’re so congested your face feels like a 16-pound bowling ball, your first line of defense is obvious: a decongestant.
Just make sure you choose the right one. Some “decongestants” actually dry your mucus instead of drain it out, says Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an associate professor at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. This makes your secretions thicker and tougher to eliminate. And all that dried-up crud that sticks around can grow bacteria and cause a nasty sinus infection.
“You go from a pond to a cesspool,” says Dr. DeStefano.
Related: 5 Ways to Fight Sinus Infections
No thanks. Instead, look for a pill—like Mucinex—that contains the ingredient guaifenesin. It’ll loosen and thin the mucus that’s causing your congestion.
That’s one way to find relief. But if you want to feel better even faster, try these two DIY tricks:
1. Use your thumb and tongue.
Gently press the area between your eyebrows with your thumb for 3 to 4 seconds, then thrust your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
Switching between these two moves targets your ethmoid and vomer bones, which subtly shift back and forth and push fluid out of your sinuses, says Dr. DeStefano. Repeat this for 20 seconds and you’ll start breathing easier, she says.
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2. Use your pinky.
This mucus-loosening trick might feel weird—okay, we tried it and it definitely feels weird—but Dr. DeStefano promises it delivers results.
Insert your right pinky into the back left of your mouth, as far behind your last molar as you can. You should feel a lot of fleshy tissue. Now push straight up toward your eye and cheek bone.
Do this for 3 seconds. It stimulates a group of nerves connected to sensation in your face and nasal cavity that will help drain out fluid, says Dr. DeStefano. Repeat this every few hours for maximum effect.